Bye bye, booze!
Sober up with science
The cause of beriberi is a deficiency of vitamin B1 (thiamine). The body needs vitamin B1 to convert carbohydrates into energy. This is why a thiamine deficiency first affects the cells that need a particularly large amount of energy (heart, muscles, nerves). A deficiency can be life-threatening.
In poorer countries, beriberi occurs as a result of malnutrition. In richer countries, alcoholism is the greatest risk factor for thiamine deficiency.
Symptoms of beriberi (vitamin B1 deficiency)
For a long time, thiamine hydrochloride was given as tablets or injections for treatment. Increasingly, however, benfotiamine, a fat-soluble form of vitamin B1, is being used. This can be absorbed particularly well due to its fat solubility and achieves a 5- to 10-fold higher bioavailability.
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